Blackberry goes back to the future

Blackberry goes back to the future

Blackberry goes back to the future Blackberry's reintroduction of its classic keyboard this week may fail to garner interest with most iPhone devotees, but an aging advisor population may be the exception.

To be sure, most of you have already traded in your Blackberry for the iPhone, according to WP's lifestyle survey, which suggests 45% of advisors use those Apple devices, compared to 29% still tapping away on the Blackberry.

That breadown could dramatically change in as little as five years given the boomer-heavy wealth advisory industry. Blackberry's launch Wednesday appears to be betting on the nostalgic value it holds with that ageing demographic.

The Waterloo-based company introduced its Blackberry Classic in New York to intense media scrutiny, calling it a “no-nonsense” smart phone. 

Its full “Qwerty” keyboard could be viewed as a welcome throwback in a world getting more technologically complicated every day. But that same keyboard may also limit appeal, even among advisors.

The big issue with the Classic for those of us entering middle age is its 3.5-inch screen. Vision isn’t something that gets better as you get older; almost 50% smaller than the iPhone 6 Plus, the Classic seems most useful for those who care only about email. 

It’s definitely not catering to those in their 20s looking to watch hockey games on their phone, suggests Kantar World panel analyst Carolina Milanesi: “This is more about avoiding more people leaving then necessarily winning many over.”

However, Blackberry CEO John Chen is convinced the moves the company are making will bear fruit down the line. Going back to its roots by delivering a product that was very much developed using feedback from “dedicated” Blackberry users, Chen is betting playing to its strengths is the way out of the abyss. 

Chen stated on Wednesday, “By bringing back the trusted functionalities, incorporating our latest operating system and building a speedier browser, our users can feel confident they are using the communications tool out there.”

So, for the 69% not using a Blackberry, is the Blackberry Classic enough to take you back to the future?